I’ve been interested in ancient Roman history for most of my life. I used to collect ancient Roman coins and had a large library of books about Rome. Haven’t visited yet, but it is on my bucket list.
One of my favorite blogs I subscribe to is The History Blog. A recent post was about excavation being done at a road house at the Ancient Roman fortress Sostra, along the Via Trajana. The road house has been compared to a 5-star hotel, with facilities including a bathroom, a heated pool, several other hot and cold pools, and under-floor heating. Fascinating stuff!
Roman luxury near Sostra. Photo courtesy of National Museum of History.
Roman pool heater found in Bulgarian resort
Trajan’s conquest of Dacia, so beautifully immortalized on the column that bears his name, was as immense a construction project as it was a military one. Trajan (r. 98-117 A.D.) built several major roads during his campaigns in Dacia, feats of engineering urged by the military necessity to clear a path for the organized and speedy movement of troops and supplies. The Via Trajana almost bisects central Bulgaria. It started in the Danube city of Ulpia Oescus, today the town of Gigen just south of the Romanian border, then went south through Sostra (modern-day Troyan) and the Troyan Pass in the Balkan Mountains before ending in Philippopolis (modern-day Plovdiv) which in Trajan’s day was in the Roman province of Thrace and is now in southern Bulgaria. The road played an important strategic role in the conquest of Dacia since it provided the army with a vital link connecting the Roman province of Lower Moesia on the Danube Plain with the largest city in Thrace. An even longer road Trajan built, the Via Militaris, intersected Philippopolis going the other way, diagonally from the northwest to the southeast of what is now Bulgaria.